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Abstract

How Long Should A Healthcare Practitioner Feel For A Pulse?- A Literature Review

Author(s): Richard Clark*, Lucy Kirkham

Assessing the vital signs of a patient is a fundamental technical skill that is routinely performed by healthcare practitioners and can help to indicate whether a patient is at risk of deteriorating. Palpating the peripheral pulse is frequently seen as a simple task when undertaking the assessment of vital signs and, often, little thought may be given to the amount of time which healthcare practitioners attribute to this task. Nursing undergraduate students are regularly taught that a minute is the ideal amount of time that a pulse should be palpated, however in practice this is sometimes reduced to 15 or 30 seconds to save time. This article explores how much time the healthcare practitioner should palpate the pulse to achieve an accurate reading by examining the available literature.


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